Gigantic killer robots from outer space! Shape-shifting seductress assassins from the infernal nether regions! Gripping international suspense and intrigue! Explosions! Michael Bay loves explosions! Okay, kinda sorta but not quite. The Malaysian leg of the 13th TBS DigiCon6 digital video festival has wrapped up, and all the good submissions told the bad ones to suck it, and then they had a food fight, and the absolute best one is going to Tokyo next month. To have a food fight with raw fish.
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Organised by the Tokyo Broadcasting System (TBS), DigiCon6 has been a proving ground for digital filmmakers in the Asian region looking to get their name out and cut their teeth in the creative industry. For the past 13 years, would-be auteurs and CGI wizards from Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, Hong Kong, India, China, South Korea, Taiwan, The Philippines and, well, Japan, have been duking it out for the 500,000 yen cheque, a nifty trophy, industry connections and the ability to say you’ve teabagged filmmakers from 9 other countries.
The Multimedia Development Corporation, or MDeC, who’s been holding down organising duties for DigiCon6‘s Malaysian front for the past several years, roped in a massive 43 submissions for this year’s local heats, and having been there at the judging screening, we’ll say this: choosing a winner was hard. (Sorting through the detritus was a little harsh on the senses, too: y’all need to stop sending in maudlin 45 minute single-angle video monologues, guys.) The best Malaysia had to offer brought with them plenty of technical panache, narrative nuance, and more often than not a healthy dose of contextual and visual humour. You know what, let’s just show you, in ascending order:
That Guy With The Pizza, by That Group With The Pizza (5th Place)
A pizza delivery dude gets into it hot and heavy with a flock of parmesan-fiending pigeons. They must be Italian pigeons. Lots of speed lines and Matrix-y flying kicks, and there’s a bird-based tornado in there somewhere.
Hoverhogs Animated, by Action Tintoy (4th Place)
An aerial dogfight! Between, like, a wolf. And a plucky pig pilot. It’s complicated. The shots are dynamic, the clouds are rendered beautifully, and in under two minutes, Action Tintoy will have you rooting for their non-halal hero as he dodges chain gun bullets in the stratosphere.
Altitude Alto, by Mushroomhead (3rd Place)
So kids hate to eat their vegetables, right? And the only way they’d consider swallowing shucked peas and pok choy is if they imagine themselves as daring fighter pilots out to shoot down vaguely carrot-shaped airships (into their bellies), right? This is something like that. The voice acting is a little meh, but it’s visually solid, and we’re suckers for propaganda telling people to consume more green stuff.
Bawang Putih Bawang Merah, by Glue Studios (2nd Place)
Glue Studios is a competitive little CGI-churning outfit; so competitive, in fact, that for DigiCon6 Malaysia, it ended up going head-to-head with itself. (Put a pin on that, though; we’ll get back to it.) An adaptation of a piece of regional folklore, Bawang Putih is a kickass blend of dynamic hyper-reality and storybook 2D sidescrolling, all wrapped in an engaging character design. You will believe a girl can eat her own mother.
Timun Mas, by Glue Studios (1st Place)
So yeah, this year’s winners are so on their game they wouldn’t even let anyone else stand next to them on the podium. Again culling from our local well of folklore, Glue Studios adapts the Indonesian legend of Timun Mas, to fantastic visual results. Traditional design motifs permeate the entire film (think the smoke clouds in Disney’s Mulan) and the character acting lends a sense of urgency and actual tension to the story. And we love lava pit-related deaths.
We’d like to take a minute to tip our snapbacks to the guys over at Glue Studios for their impressive one-two punch at DigiCon6 Malaysia this year; and we’ll be following them to Tokyo next month! (To make sure they actually attend the 13th TBS DigiCon6 Award Ceremony, and not out in the streets of Shibuya jacking up used panty machines.) Watch this space.
More info and background of MSC Malaysia – TBS DigiCon6 here.